UAE urges G8 nations to deliver on Arab Spring pledges

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Egyptian protesters clashes with riot police at Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square in November. (AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian protesters clashes with riot police at Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square in November. (AFP/Getty Images)

The UAE has urged the international community to deliver on pledges of billions of dollars of aid that was promised to Arab countries after last year's uprisings but has not been disbursed.

In September, the Group of Eight major nations pledged $38bn in financing to Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan over 2011-13 under the "Deauville Initiative".

The International Monetary Fund promised a further $35bn to countries affected by Arab Spring unrest.

But very little of that money has actually been handed over, as political instability in needy countries deters some donor governments and institutions, and as other donors struggle with budget pressures of their own.

"We call upon the international community to begin implementing the items set by the Deauville statement, particularly with regards to funding amounts specified," said Younis Haji al-Khouri, undersecretary at the UAE's Ministry of Finance.

He was speaking to a meeting of officials from the G8, Arab states and multilateral lending institutions in Abu Dhabi to discuss economic development after the Arab Spring.

Half of the $38bn is supposed to be provided by G8 and wealthy Arab states, and half by multilateral lenders such as the World Bank.

Egypt is close to a currency crisis as its foreign reserves shrink by about $2bn every month, but it has received little emergency aid apart from a total of $1bn sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to Egyptian officials.

Egypt's prime minister said this week that international donors had made any aid contingent on Cairo first reaching agreement on a financing package with the IMF. That agreement could take many weeks to reach, since it is likely to require Egypt to commit to economic reforms.

The UAE has itself promised aid to Egypt. Obaid Humaid al-Tayer, the UAE's minister of state for financial affairs, said in October that his country planned to provide $3bn but was still discussing the delivery mechanism.

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